Marie Rimmer MP, serving St Helens South and Whiston, has shown her support for the 5.5m people living in former mining towns and villages. The MP took the time to sign a dedicated pledge book, which was presented by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, during an event in Westminster.
The pledge, which reads: “I pledge my support to the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in delivering against its objectives to make a lasting and positive impact on the employment, skills and health of residents in former mining towns and villages”, asked MPs to sign their own specially printed page and to give their commitment to the regeneration of the coalfield communities.
Marie comments: “I find it hard to believe that 43% of coalfield neighbourhoods fall into the 30% most deprived in the UK. Furthermore, skills shortages are a further and prevalent challenge, with 20% of residents having no qualifications, 5% higher than the national average. The levels of deprivation in coalfield communities cannot be ignored. We need to work hard to change the fortunes of these residents and to give them the opportunity to meet with their aspirations.”
Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Andy Lock comments: “Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Conor McGinn MP for hosting the reception at Westminster.
“Having this platform gives us the perfect opportunity to raise the ongoing challenges that are still prevalent in the coalfield communities, but importantly it also allows us to share our proposals on how we can tackle these issues to make an impact both socially and economically moving forward.
“The statistics still make for difficult reading but we know if we come together – and encourage even more MPs like Marie to combine resources and give their commitment to the communities – we can continue to tackle the ongoing issues, which typically focus on employment, skills and health.”
Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis, took the opportunity during the Westminster event to share an overview of the Coalfield Investment Fund proposition. The document makes the case for a contribution of £30m to be combined with an investment of £10m from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to establish a £40m fund. This will be used to develop new industrial space for SME’s in former mining areas and on completion bring an estimated 1,000 jobs to these communities.
As a result of the investment, over a 25-year period, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will produce £50m in sustainable income which will be used to support social impact projects creating a wellbeing value of £500m to the communities and a lasting legacy for the next generation.
The annual income stream of £2m will be directed into social impact projects in the communities, typically achieving the following outcomes; 400 people will be helped back into work; 800 people supported into volunteering; 5,000 people assisted with developing new skills and 8,000 people taking part in activities that improve health.
Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis comments: “Our proposal offers Government a unique opportunity to invest in improving the social wellbeing of the former coalfield communities. It will deliver sustainable returns, providing exceptional indirect benefits including £17
per £1 invested. In addition, this will also result in £90 million of direct benefits from the government’s £30 million contribution.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Marie and all other MPs who have now signed our pledge book. The support has been overwhelming and sets out the case that more needs to be done and that people are giving us their commitment to help.”
For further details about the Coalfields Investment Fund proposition and the work that the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is involved with please visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk